For my first blogpost, I chose to write about a picture I found in the Library of Congress, shot by Sergei Mikahailovich.
The picture, named “Gruppa”, which means group, was shot in Murmansk in the year of 1915. Murmansk is a port city in the northwest of Russia, and named after the Murman coast, a term in Russian for Norway. The photographer is seated beside two military men dressed in Cossak robes.
I think that this picture in particular is so interesting at the time because Russia is about to experience revolts, especially from soldiers, who will later be the first Soviets. In 1915, Russia is currently finding itself in World War I. Russia is losing its quest to dominate the Ottoman Empire, and the Black Sea. Meanwhile, Germany is growing in military and might. Because Russia’s ammunition and weapons are low, they are defeated several times by Germany. On top of that, soldiers have poor food provisions. I wonder whether these men were suffering of poor provisions, as well.
This picture is taken shortly before the end of Tsar Nicholas II’ reign, and the February revolution. The Russian Empire will collapse, and nobles will not be able to hinder it. Did these military men already have any idea of what was going to happen, and if so, did they tell the photographer about it? Were they part of any socialist uprisings? Military men were very crucial in the upcoming revolts, so I guess they must have had some kind of idea of what was going on.
I can also see that the photographer and his two companions are sitting in what seems to be like a construction area in the forest. Perhaps they are seated on another railroad construction, something that was being worked on at that time, as well. Russia was very much in need of industrialization, having to catch up with Western European states.
Sergei Mikahailovich has a bunch of other pictures that are located in the Library of Congress. If I were you, I would go check them out! If you look closely, each picture has its own little neat story behind it. The link for “Gruppa” is found underneath the picture I posted, and you can easily explore Sergei’s collection if you click on the link.
I hope you enjoyed my first blogpost! Stay tuned for more!
P.S.: For my research I used the book “Russia: A History,” edited by Gregory Freeze. I mostly looked up the chapter on World War I.